Apr, 28 2010

Last month, Mozilla reported success in getting their most basic – and arguably ugly – version of Firefox ported to Android. The test was to make sure their browser was easily compatible for Android using the NDK, and compatible it was. Now, it’s been tweaked, stripped, and wrapped up into a nice .apk file for you to check out for yourself.

This build should be considered “pre-alpha”, so there are some warnings and caveats:

  • We’ve only really tested this on the Motorola Droid and the Nexus One.
  • It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot.
  • Memory usage of this build isn’t great — in many ways it’s a debug build, and we haven’t really done a lot of optimization yet. This could cause some problems with large pages, especially on low memory devices like the Droid.
  • You’ll see the app exit and relaunch on first start, as well as on add-on installs; this is a quirk of our install process, and we’re working to get rid of it.
  • You can’t open links from other apps using Fennec; we should have this for the next build.
  • This build requires Android 2.0 or above, and likely an OpenGL ES 2.0 capable device
  • Edit: This build must be installed to internal memory, not to a SD card.

Unfortunately, you’ll need an Android 2.0 or later device with OpenGL ES 2.0 – and it’s only been officially tested for the Motorola Droid and Nexus One – so those of you on anything older won’t be able to get a taste.  As it’s pre-alpha, don’t expect things to be all rosy: there are still a lot of bugs and stability issues. If there’s one thing to take from this early preview, though, it’s that Fennec definitely seems to have a bright future on the Android platform (and given how fast we saw this thing turn around from a preemptive build to pre-Alpha, that future is very near).


If you’d like to try it out on your Android 2.0 or later device, follow this link with your phone’s browser and download the .apk file, or scan the QR code with your phone’s barcode scanner.fennec-android-bitly.